New Delhi: The Centre is said to have urged the vaccine manufacturers, the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, to reduce the COVDI vaccine prices after being faced fierce criticism over discriminatory pricing of the vaccine at this time of crisis.
Several states have come heavily on the Centre and vaccine manufacturers for their discriminatory pricing strategy and accused them of profiteering from the crisis situation.
The country is all set to begin the third phase of inoculation from May 1, while many states reportedly stated that they could not start vaccination due to inadequate vaccine.
The issue of vaccine pricing was discussed at a meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba.
The Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has fixed the price of its Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, at Rs 600 per dose for state governments and at Rs 1,200 per dose for private hospitals.
Whereas, the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has announced a price of Rs 400 per dose for its Covid-19 vaccine, 'Covishield', for state governments and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals.
Both vaccines are available to the central government at a rate of Rs 150 per dose.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) has, however, defended pricing Covishield vaccine at 1.5 times the initial rate, saying the earlier price was based on advance funding and now it has to invest in scaling up and expanding capacity to produce more shots.
In a statement on Saturday, the Serum Institute clarified that there was an "inaccurate comparison" done between the global prices of the vaccine with India.
"Covishield is the most affordable COVID-19 vaccine available in the market today," SII said.